Blood Tests This month I had oncology and haematology appointments only a week apart so I thought it silly to go for two separate blood tests. Off I went to the surgery with two blood test forms and found that the phlebotomist also had one form (from my GP) so she had the challenge of seeing how they differed and whether she could combine them and avoid taking too many gallons of my red stuff. After all, they all wanted a FBC, LFT and U&E (that’s a Full Blood Count, Liver Function Test and Urea and Electrolytes). In addition Oncology, not surprisingly, wanted a PSA figure (I would be worried if they hadn’t asked for that) and my GP wanted a couple of other things. Continue reading “Is there a trend?”
Back in December I told you how my PSA had gone up. From a low of 0.2 last May it had crept up to 0.3 in August and then leapt to 3.2 in December. The question was, was this leap a blip or a trend? It wasn’t yet at a level to require additional intervention but was a bit concerning, especially if it were followed by a further similar increase. Continue reading “Blip”
Walking down the road the other day I saw a man sitting in his car frantically waving his arms around. For all the world it looked as if he was trying to beat off a wasp or some other annoying insect. When I got closer I could see that he was having an animated conversation on his mobile phone (cellphone in the US; a term which I used to find a bit confusing when US colleagues sent me messages starting “I am sending this from my cell . . .“). Continue reading “Telephony”
Just over a year ago I wrote “Is it a blip or a trend?” about my blood test results. That time is was an encouraging improvement in my platelet levels which allowed me to avoid Plan B and go on to Plan C. (Plan A was prednisolone which bumped up my blood glucose and played havoc with my diabetes, Plan B was rituximab, most of which’s side effects weren’t fatal, and Plan C was carry on with the lower dose prednisolone and see what happens and eventually stop the prednisolone). This time the question is aimed at a less than encouraging increase in my PSA levels. Continue reading “Is it a blip or is it a trend (2)?”
I saw my oncologist this week and it is “steady as she goes”. My latest PSA is 0.21 marginally up from the last reading of 0.15 but still crawling along the bottom of the graph. (I won’t talk percentages – it’s a 40% increase, which sounds more scary than a 0.06 increase).
Apparently this week is Volunteers Week so I thought I would share with you a piece written by a relative in Canada. He started by asking the question “Why do people volunteer?”. Continue reading “Steady as she volunteers”
San Diego Dan has posted a link to an interesting article on various approaches to refining the PSA test. As I said a while ago a raised PSA really only shouts “Have more tests” since it is possible to have prostate cancer with a PSA of zero and to not have it with a PSA of 4,000. Factors such as how much time you spend on the saddle of a bicycle will have an impact on your PSA level. Then there is the question of whether the cancer is aggressive or not. If you can tell this then a lot of unnecessary treatment can be avoided. While I wouldn’t say avoid hospitals and treatment at all costs (and in the US personal costs can be significant) certainly if unnecessary treatments can be avoided not only does it save money it also avoids all the various side effects and risks associated with any medical intervention. The article explains that researchers are developing genetic tests, imaging tests, and algorithms in an effort to reduce the more than a million men a year who have prostate biopsies and, even more important, reduce the thousands who get treatment they don’t need.
Every so often I feel like I am breaking out in a hot sweat even though there is no actual sweat or perspiration. I notice it mainly on my face and I don’t think anyone else notices it is happening unless I start fanning myself or open the doors and windows. It can happen several times a day and usually lasts just a few minutes. Continue reading “Flushes, Antigens and Platelets”
Numbers – no I am not going to go all biblical on you, but it does seem at times that our lives are ruled by numbers. At one time it was numbers like 19 – the number of minutes it took me to walk to the station to catch the train to London ; or 2 – the number of the bus I would catch to get into town; or 63 which was the length (in feet) of the room in which John Roysse set up a school. For the town of Esperance 400 was an interesting number – a fine unpaid for 30 years. I shall explain.
When we were on holiday I wondered whether I would have anything to say to keep my blog going. Yep, looks like it won’t be a problem.
Today’s new word is thrombocytopenia. We had timed our holiday* so that I could go for a blood test before seeing the oncologist on Monday (looking at the all important PSA levels). I had been going to go first thing Friday morning but a meeting had come up at our daughter’s Day Centre (rumours of it closing) so I had popped over to phlebotomy on Thursday afternoon. Continue reading “A new word”
Another minor milestone – my fourth chemo session, only two to go. When I had my blood taken on Tuesday the nurse said that the lab ignored handwritten information on the blood test form because “you wouldn’t believe what some patients add to the form” which presumably is why they didn’t check my PSA last time. Continue reading “Steady as she goes”